When a hen lays an egg, the lower part of the hen's reproductive tract (oviduct) is turned inside out along with the egg. This allows the hen to lay an egg without coming into contact with fecal material. Sometimes the oviduct does not immediately retract back into the hen once an egg has been laid. This condition is known as prolapse. If noticed early, the oviduct can be gently pushed back into the hen. If not noticed immediately, other hens will pick at the protruding oviduct, damaging it and preventing it from retracting.
Several management problems in the rearing or laying of hens can be involved:
Hens that lay large double-yolked eggs are more prone to prolapse. Prolapse is also likely to occur at peak production.
There is no effective treatment for prolapse. Prevention is the best method of control.
For more information, refer to the page on prolapse in poultry.